Bluetooth LE AoA positioning system delivers sub-meter accuracy for indoor location finding and asset tracking

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BlueIOT employs Nordic’s nRF52833 SoC to provide low power consumption, smartphone interoperable location services

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that BlueIOT Technology Co., Ltd, a Beijing, China-based positioning technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52833 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing and wireless connectivity for ‘BlueIOT’, a Bluetooth LE Angle-of-Arrival (AoA) positioning system. 
The positioning system is designed for indoor use in hospitals, supermarkets, or exhibitions, for example, as well as for tracking in warehouses and factories. The nRF52833 SoC-powered tags can be placed in key locations throughout a facility, or attached to assets in a warehouse, enabling customers, patients, and staff to navigate their way to a specified location or item via the ‘BLUEIOT MAP’ app on a Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) iOS or Android smartphone. The app provides indoor navigation and path planning features as well as point of interest functionality.

Direction Finding capability

The nRF52833’s radio is capable of all Direction Finding features enabling positioning applications that not only rely on received signal strength indication (RSSI) but also signal direction. Its generous memory allocation (512kB Flash and 128 kB RAM) supports both receiver and transmitter roles for AoA and Angle-of-Departure (AoD) applications. In combination with BlueIOT’s proprietary algorithm that suppresses multipath interference—as well as offering higher pitch and yaw accuracy—the user can navigate to any given tag within an accuracy of 30cm, even in the case of non-line-of-sight applications.
the Nordic SDK has shortened our development time by up to six months
Rayson Zhao, BlueIOT Technology
The BlueIOT tags are powered by a single coin cell battery and can provide in excess of 12 months battery life in standby mode, and avoiding the need for frequent battery replacement thanks in part to the ultra low power characteristics of the Nordic SoC.
Nordic’s nRF52833 advanced multiprotocol SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth mesh, Direction Finding, 2Mbps throughput, and Long Range plus Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software). The nRF52833 SoC’s radio architecture with on-chip PA provides -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps in Bluetooth LE mode), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. It is supplied with S113 or S140 SoftDevices, Nordic’s Bluetooth RF protocol stacks. The S140 is a qualified Bluetooth 5.1 stack and includes support for 2 Mbps throughput, Long Range, and improved coexistence through CSA #2.

Bluetooth LE AoA positioning

“The nRF52833 is currently one of the few SoCs worldwide to offer high functionality, low power, and all the requirements to implement a Bluetooth LE AoA positioning solution,” says Rayson Zhao, CEO of BlueIOT Technology. “Its flexibility is very helpful for developers, and the Nordic SDK has shortened our development time by up to six months. The technical support from Nordic here in China is outstanding, which is essential when developing new products.”
“With growing demand for Bluetooth LE location services, more and more customers would like to add location service support into existing products, from smart logistics, to smart hospital patient monitoring, and smart schools,” says Leon Wu, Regional Sales Manager – North China, at Nordic Semiconductor.
“We are very pleased to see BlueIOT has the capability to support customers at the solution level, which will be important for the commercialization of Bluetooth LE AoA positioning products. A lot of value added services can be rapidly built in to new and existing products based on BlueIOT’s solution.”